Children’s beliefs about intelligence and school performance


Deborah Stipek


Heidi Gralinski

Year of Publication: 
Journal of Educational Psychology

The study was designed, first, to explore associations among children's beliefs about intelligence and effort, goal orientations, self-reported learning strategies, and academic achievement. Assessments of all variables were conducted twice over 1 school year on 319 children in Grades 3–6. Results indicated that the belief that intelligence is relatively fixed was associated with the beliefs that performance is relatively stable and that intelligence is global in its effects on performance. This set of beliefs was differentiated from the belief that effort has positive effects on intelligence and performance. Children's beliefs in intelligence as fixed and affecting performance were negatively associated with academic achievement, but a path analysis provided only modest support for the hypothesis that the effect of such beliefs would be mediated by a performance goal orientation and accompanying superficial learning strategies.

APA Citation

Stipek, D., & Gralinski, H. (1996). Children’s beliefs about intelligence and school performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(3), 397-407.